Jhanda Uncha Rahe Hamara

The National Flag of India is a horizontal rectangular tricolour of deep saffron, white and India green; with the Ashoka Chakra, a 24-spoke wheel, in blue at its centre. It was adopted in its present form during a meeting of the Constituent Assembly held on 22 July 1947, when it became the official flag of the Dominion of India. The flag was subsequently retained as that of the Republic of India. In India, the term "tricolour" almost always refers to the Indian national flag. The flag is based on the Swaraj flag, a flag of the Indian National Congress designed by Pingali Venkayya.

The flag, by law, is to be made of khadi, a special type of hand-spun cloth of cotton or silk made popular by Mahatma Gandhi. The manufacturing process and specifications for the flag are laid out by the Bureau of Indian Standards. The right to manufacture the flag is held by the Khadi Development and Village Industries Commission, who allocate it to the regional groups. As of 2009, the Karnataka Khadi Gramodyoga Samyukta Sangha was the sole manufacturer of the flag.

Usage of the flag is governed by the Flag Code of India and other laws relating to the national emblems. The original code prohibited use of the flag by private citizens except on national days such as the Independence day and the Republic Day. In 2002, on hearing an appeal from a private citizen, the Supreme Court of India directed the Government of India to amend the code to allow flag usage by private citizens. Subsequently, the Union Cabinet of India amended the code to allow limited usage. The code was amended once more in 2005 to allow some additional use including adaptations on certain forms of clothing. The flag code also governs the protocol of flying the flag and its use in conjunction with other national and non-national flags.


History
India was under British rule in the 19th century. A number of flags with varying designs were used in the period preceding the Indian Independence Movement by the rulers of different princely states; the idea of a single Indian flag was first raised by the British rulers of India after the rebellion of 1857, which resulted in the establishment of direct imperial rule. The first flag, whose design was based on western heraldic standards, was similar to the flags of other British colonies, including Canada and Australia; the blue banner included the Union Flag in the upper-left quadrant and a Star of India capped by the royal crown in the middle of the right half. To address the question of how the star conveyed "Indianness", Queen Victoria created the Knight Commander of the Order of the Star of India to honour services to the empire by her Indian subjects. Subsequently, all the Indian states received flags with symbols based on the heraldic criteria of Europe.
In the early twentieth century, around the coronation of Edward VII, a discussion started on the need for a heraldic symbol that was representative of the Indian empire. William Coldstream, a British member of the Indian Civil Service, campaigned the government to change the heraldic symbol from a star, which he considered to be a common choice, to something more appropriate that would bind the people to the Kingdom of Great Britain. His proposal was not well received by the government; Lord Curzon rejected it for practical reasons including the multiplication of flags.[3] Around this time, nationalist opinion within the dominion was leading to a representation through religious tradition. The symbols that were in vogue included the Ganesha, advocated by Bal Gangadhar Tilak, and Kali, advocated by Aurobindo Ghosh and Bankim Chandra Chattopadhyay. Another symbol was the cow, or Gau Mata (cow mother). However, all these symbols were Hindu-centric and did not suggest unity with India's Muslim population.

The partition of Bengal (1905) resulted in the introduction of a new Indian flag that sought to unite the multitude of castes and races within the country. The Bande Mataram flag, part of the Swadeshi movement against the British, comprised Indian religious symbols represented in western heraldic fashion. The tricolour flag included eight white lotuses on the upper red band - representing the eight provinces, a sun and a crescent on the bottom green band - representing the Hindu and Muslim population respectively, and the Bande Mataram slogan in Hindi on the central yellow band. The flag was launched in Calcutta bereft of any ceremony and the launch was only briefly covered by newspapers. The flag was not covered in contemporary governmental or political reports either, but was used at the annual session of the Indian National Congress. A slightly modified version was subsequently used by Madam Bhikaji Cama at the Second Socialist International Meeting in Stuttgart. Despite the multiple uses of the flag, it failed to generate enthusiasm amongst Indian nationalists.

Around the same time, another proposal for the flag was initiated by Sister Nivedita, a Hindu reformist and disciple of Swami Vivekananda. The flag consisted of a thunderbolt in the centre and a hundred and eight oil lamps for the border, with the Vande Mataram caption split around the thunderbolt. It was also presented at the Indian National Congress meeting in 1906. Soon, many other proposals were initiated, but none of them gained attention from the nationalist movement. In 1916, Pingali Venkayya submitted thirty new designs, in the form of a booklet funded by members of the High Court of Madras. These many proposals and recommendations did little more than keep the flag movement alive. The same year, Annie Besant and Bal Gangadhar Tilak adopted a new flag as part of the Home Rule Movement. The flag included the Union Jack in the upper left corner, a star and crescent in the upper right, and seven stars displayed diagonally from the lower right, on a background of five red and four green alternating bands. The flag resulted in the first governmental initiative against any nationalistic flag, as a magistrate in Coimbatore banned its use. The ban was followed by a public debate on the function and importance of a national flag.
In the early 1920s, national flag discussions gained prominence across most British dominions following the peace treaty between Britain and Ireland. In November 1920, the Indian delegation to the League of Nations wanted to use an Indian flag, and this prompted the British Indian government to place renewed emphasis on the flag as a national symbol. In April 1921, Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi wrote in his journal Young India about the need for an Indian flag, proposing a flag with the charkha or spinning wheel at the centre. The idea of the spinning wheel was put forth by Lala Hansraj, and Gandhi commissioned Venkayya to design a flag with the spinning wheel on a red and green banner, the red colour signifying Hindus and the green standing for Muslims. Gandhi wanted the flag to be presented at the Congress session of 1921, but it was not delivered on time, and another flag was proposed at the session. Gandhi later wrote that the delay was fortuitous since it allowed him to realize that other religions were not represented; he then added white to the banner colours, to represent all the other religions. However, soon the Sikhs wanted the banner to include the black colour and Gandhi was forced to address these issues in his writings and speeches. Finally, owing to the religious-political sensibilities, in 1929, Gandhi moved towards a more secular interpretation of the flag colours, stating that red stood for the sacrifices of the people, white for purity, and green for hope.
On 13 April 1923, during a procession by local Congress volunteers in Nagpur commemorating the Jallianwala Bagh massacre , the Swaraj flag with the spinning wheel, designed by Venkayya, was hoisted. This event resulted in a confrontation between the Congressmen and the police, after which five people were imprisoned. Over a hundred other protesters continued the flag procession after a meeting. Subsequently, on the first of May, Jamnalal Bajaj, the secretary of the Nagpur Congress Committee, started the Flag Satyagraha, gaining national attention and marking a significant point in the flag movement. The satyagraha, promoted nationally by the Congress, started creating cracks within the organisation in which the Gandhians were highly enthused while the other group, the Swarajists, called it inconsequential. Finally, at the All India Congress Committee meeting in July, at the insistence of Jawaharlal Nehru and Sarojini Naidu, Congress closed ranks and the flag movement was endorsed. The flag movement was managed by Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel with the idea of public processions and flag displays by common people. By the end of the movement, over 1500 people had been arrested across all of British India. The Bombay Chronicle reported that the movement drew from diverse groups of society including farmers, students, merchants, labourers and "national servants". While Muslim participation was moderate, the movement enthused women, who had hitherto rarely participated in the independence movement.

While the flag agitation got its impetus from Gandhi's writings and discourses, the movement received political acceptance following the Nagpur incident. News reports, editorials and letters to editors published in various journals and newspapers of the time attest to the subsequent development of a bond between the flag and the nation. Soon, the concept of preserving the honour of the national flag became an integral component of the freedom struggle. While Muslims were still wary of the Swaraj flag, it gained acceptance among Muslim leaders of the Congress and the Khilafat Movement as the national flag. Detractors of the flag movement, including Motilal Nehru, soon hailed the Swaraj flag as a symbol of national unity.

Thus, the flag became a significant structural component of the institution of India. In contrast to the subdued responses of the past, the British Indian government took greater cognizance of the new flag, and began to define a policy of response. The British parliament discussed public use of the flag, and based on directives from England, the British Indian government threatened to withdraw funds from municipalities and local governments that did not prevent the display of the Swaraj flag. The Swaraj flag became the official flag of Congress at the 1931 meeting. However, by then, the flag had already become the symbol of the independence movement.

A few days before India gained its freedom in August 1947, the Constituent Assembly was formed. To select a flag for independent India, on 23 June 1947, the assembly set up an ad hoc committee headed by Rajendra Prasad and including Maulana Abul Kalam Azad, Sarojini Naidu, C. Rajagopalachari, K. M. Munshi and B.R. Ambedkar as its members. On 14 July 1947, the committee recommended that the flag of the Indian National Congress be adopted as the National Flag of India with suitable modifications, so as to make it acceptable to all parties and communities. It was also resolved that the flag should not have any communal undertones. The spinning wheel of the Congress flag was replaced by the Chakra (wheel) from the Lion Capital of Ashoka.

According to Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan, the chakra was chosen as it was representative of dharma and law. However, Nehru explained that the change was more practical in nature, as unlike the flag with the spinning wheel, this design would appear symmetrical. Gandhi was not very pleased by the change, but eventually came around to accepting it. The flag was proposed by Nehru at the Constituent Assembly on 22 July 1947 as a horizontal tricolor of deep saffron, white and dark green in equal proportions, with the Ashoka wheel in blue in the centre of the white band. Nehru also presented two flags, one in Khadi-silk and the other in Khadi-cotton, to the assembly. The resolution was approved unanimously. It served as the national flag of the Dominion of India between 15 August 1947 and 26 January 1950, and has served as the flag of the Republic of India since then.


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